Keep­ing on their tows

Na­tion­wide has made a ma­jor de­ci­sion and switched trucks, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

RE­LI­A­BIL­ITY is cru­cial when you’re run­ning a busi­ness that res­cues stranded mo­torists; it was one of the key rea­sons Ian McMil­lan switched from Isuzu trucks to Hi­nos for his tow­ing ser­vice.

McMil­lan is the di­rec­tor of Na­tion­wide Tow­ing Ser­vice, a Melbourne-based com­pany op­er­at­ing 145 trucks out of three sub­ur­ban de­pots.

It’s the largest com­mer­cial tow­ing com­pany in Vic­to­ria and one of the big­gest in the coun­try.

Na­tion­wide Tow­ing is con­tracted to the RACV to res­cue mem­bers in dis­tress in metropoli­tan Melbourne, with 27 Hino 500s ded­i­cated to the RACV job and painted in its bright yel­low liv­ery.

Com­plet­ing about 250,000 tows a year, 150,000 of them for the RACV, Na­tion­wide Tow­ing & Trans­port will carry cars, ma­chin­ery, fork­lifts, buses, car­a­vans, trucks, ship­ping con­tain­ers, sheds and gen­er­a­tors any­where in Aus­tralia. It doesn’t at­tend crashes.

When one of your mis­sions is to res­cue mo­torists stranded by the road­side, it’s vi­tal you get to them as soon as pos­si­ble, which makes re­li­a­bil­ity one of the high­est con­sid­er­a­tions when se­lect­ing a truck.

McMil­lan has used Isuzu trucks since he and two part­ners started Na­tion­wide Tow­ing 21 years ago, but made the mo­men­tous de­ci­sion to buy Hino trucks af­ter los­ing faith in Isuzu.

There were a num­ber of is­sues with the Isuzu trucks, he says, but one trou­ble­some truck in par­tic­u­lar trig­gered his de­ci­sion.

The move was aided by Melbourne’s Pres­tige Hino, which went the ex­tra mile to see McMil­lan was sat­is­fied, some­thing he says Isuzu and its dealer didn’t seem so keen to do.

‘‘Mak­ing a move like we did was a bit of a punt, but there were a few things hap­pen­ing with Isuzu that I didn’t like,’’ McMil­lan says.

‘‘They were hav­ing lots of is­sues, among them a truck that gave us a lot grief over about six months with an in­ter­mit­tent prob­lem they couldn’t fix.’’

That started McMil­lan look­ing at other makes, Hino one of them.

McMil­lan says he couldn’t be hap­pier since mak­ing the switch.

‘‘Since I’ve got into it I haven’t re­gret­ted it one sin­gle mo­ment,’’ he says.

The Hi­nos, 10.4-tonne GVM medium-duty 500s, have been ut­terly re­li­able, so re­li­able he dubs them the ‘‘Toy­ota of trucks’’.

‘‘If you want a car that’s go­ing to get you from A to B more of­ten with­out any prob­lems, you’d buy a Toy­ota. If you want to do it look­ing flash, you’d prob­a­bly buy some­thing else,’’ McMil­lan says.

On any given morn­ing there could be 40 to 50 ur­gent tow­ing jobs that have come in overnight, mak­ing re­li­a­bil­ity a key fac­tor.

‘‘Be­ing No.1 in tow­ing is about fast turn­arounds and min­i­mum down­time of our fleet, and with the Hi­nos we are con­fi­dent about get­ting the job done on time,’’ McMil­lan says.

In ad­di­tion to its re­li­a­bil­ity McMil­lan says the Hino has been eco­nom­i­cal in ser­vice with Na­tion­wide Tow­ing and also sat­is­fies his needs for op­er­a­tor com­fort and safety.

But it al­ways comes back to the re­li­a­bil­ity of the trucks, he says, and Hino stands out.

Fleet street: Na­tion­wide boss Ian McMil­lan says re­li­a­bil­ity prompted him to switch to Hi­nos for their tow­ing ser­vice.

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